One of the most well-known communities in San Diego, Ocean Beach lies south of Mission Bay and Mission Beach, northwest of Downtown, and north of Point Loma. It is now commonly referred to as “O.B.,” but Ocean Beach went through several name changes over the years, including Mussel Beach, Medanos, Mussel Beds, Palmer’s Place, Palmer’s Ranch, and Palmiro’s. The first developments began in 1887 by Billy Carlson and Frank Higgins, but it wasn’t until the early 1920s that the area began to be really populated. In 1967, the construction of the I-8 brought increased traffic to the area and connected Ocean Beach to the rest of San Diego.
Ocean Beach boasts the United States’ first leash-free dog beach as well as the west coast’s longest concrete pier, the famous Ocean Beach Municipal Pier. Newport Avenue serves as the main business hub, with a thriving district of boutique shops, quirky restaurants, head shops, antique stores, coffee houses, tattoo parlors, and surf shops. There is a distinctly hippie vibe to the area, creating a very relaxed atmosphere throughout the community. Chain establishments are virtually banned, so there are a large number of independently-owned businesses. The community is famous for its annual Chili Cookoff, Christmas parade, and jazz festival, as well as its weekly farmer’s market.